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Saving can feel like serious business. And, of course, it is—if you aren't saving for the future, it's difficult to achieve financial security. But if you're struggling to make progress toward your saving goals, it may be time to take a different approach to saving: Make it more fun.
It's easy to lose interest and fall off the savings wagon, but adding elements of excitement to your finances can make it easier to stay consistent. Here are five ways you can make saving money more fun.
1. Try a Savings Challenge
Savings challenges can help you push yourself to spend less and save more while having fun. One popular way to play is the 52-week money challenge. With this savings challenge, you save $1 in week one, $2 in week two and so on, continuing until week 52 (where you'll save $52). By the end of the 52-week period, you'll have stashed $1,378 in savings.
Another option is to try a no-spend challenge. In a no-spend challenge, you designate a period of time when you won't make any discretionary purchases. You could start with a weekend or a week. Some people even push themselves to go for a whole month, but that requires some upfront planning and a whole lot of willpower.
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2. Set Exciting Goals
What motivates you to save in the first place? Jot down the things you're truly aiming for—a home, a dream vacation, new furniture or money to go back to school—whatever it is that you're dreaming of. Keep that goal front and center when you think of saving.
Some banks may even allow you to nickname your savings account in the app. Transferring money into your savings each payday may not be particularly fun, but stashing funds in your "Spring Break in Cancun" account can be a lot more exciting.
3. Compete With a Friend
Do you have a friend who shares similar savings goals with you? Ask if they'd be willing to partner up as accountability buddies. And to make being savings support buddies more exciting, you could come up with a competition. For example, you could face off to see who can reach a goal faster, such as $500 in savings.
Or, if you have different savings goals, each of you can break up your goal into the same number of milestones. Compete to see who can most consistently stay on track to reach their milestones first.
4. Reward Yourself
Pick a way to reward yourself when you hit your milestones. For example, you could choose a small reward for every pay period that you transfer funds into your savings account. Or, you could pick a larger reward for every month that you meet your savings goals.
For best results, choose rewards that feel like splurging but don't break the bank. A cocktail or mocktail kit, a new video game, a trip to the movies or a set of super soft pajamas from the department store—pick simple pleasures that make you happy.
5. Track Your Savings
Creating a visual tracker for your savings can help make saving more inspiring, and there's no limit to how fun you can make your trackers.
For some, filling out cells on a spreadsheet as you sink money into your savings funds can be a good visual. If you want to create a physical tracker, you can download or create your own visual trackers that you color in as you go. Displaying your savings tracker somewhere you see it every day can make you feel good about your progress.
The Bottom Line
Saving is a cornerstone of a healthy financial life, but that doesn't mean it's always a breeze to stick with. Finding ways to make saving money motivating and fun can make staying on course more realistic.
In the end, finding a saving strategy that works for you comes down to staying flexible in your budgeting and finding ways to lower expenses when you can. Setting up automatic transfers into savings can make it easier to create a consistent saving habit.